Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

2016 Carlson Award Winner

Congratulations Michael “Renaissance” Moynihan!

Michael leading the 2015 Black Lives Matter walk out on UW's campus.

Michael leading the 2015 Black Lives Matter walk out on UW’s campus.

Michael Moynihan is a true renaissance man. He was the valedictorian of his community college after once being a high school dropout. He was homeless at one time, and the owner of a construction company at another. His life experiences are vast and they have granted him a compassionate intersectional lens. He is fighter for justice, whose moral compass is so strong that it changes every community he is part of. He was a part of Divest UW, which led the University of Washington to divest from coal, and he is now helping to lead a campaign to get UW to divest from prisons. He was one of the organizers of last year’s Black Lives Matter walk out, which was the largest campus demonstration since 1970s, and their demands spurred President Cauce’s Race & Equity initiative.  He has been a part of the movement to motivate King County to not build a youth jail, and his research was instrumental in the passing of Seattle City Council “Detention Zero” Resolution 31614, which is moving the City to ending the practice of jailing youth and instead using restorative justice diversion programs. This resolution helped put $600,000 into community restorative justice programs. 

Find more about our winner’s history, activism, poetry, and latest album at his website

It is because of his focus on collaboration and accountability that Michael has been awarded with this year’s Edward E. Carlson Award.

Excerpt from one of his recommendation letters: He is a sophisticated thinker. While I was on a long plane ride recently, I listened to a TED talk by Emilie Wapnik on “multipotentials,” people with a range of interests and talents, and Michael immediately came to mind… His ability to span and bridge the world of the academy and activism is a real source of strength.

Ana Mari Cauce, President of the University of Washington